Colin Mills, compiler of the Hortus Camdenensis, died in late November 2012 after a short illness. As he always considered the Hortus his legacy, it is his family's intention to keep the site running in perpetuity. It will not, however, be updated in the near future.

Begonia nitida Dryand. var. odorata alba

Frost-tender, shrub-like begonia with medium, glossy green leaves, paler beneath, and large clusters of fragrant, small white flowers, suspended form the upper stems, mainly in winter.  To 2m.  [RHSD, Hortus, Krempin].

Horticultural & Botanical History

Begonia nitida is figured in Curtis’s Botanical Magazine, but this is the species, with larger pink flowers, introduced later.  ‘This is one of the many handsome species of a Genus, which, we have before remarked, is not so much cultivated as it deserves to be, a native of Jamaica, and introduced to the Royal Botanic Gardens of Kew (where our figure was made) by Dr. Wm. Brown, in the year 1777.  It bears its large, copious, showy flowers during most of the summer months, when it makes a fine appearance, with its pink panicles, and large glossy foliage.’  [BM t.4046/1843]. According to Krempin introduced to Britain in 1813.  Paxton’s and Johnson’s Dictionary give a date of 1824.  MB p.123/1837.  FC p.273/1846.

History at Camden Park

Listed in the 1850 and 1857 catalogues [H.22/1850].  Macarthur purchased seed of this from Hurst and McMullen, Seedsmen and Florists of London on 8th April 1846.  [MP A2933-1, p.132].


Begonia odorata Willd. (c.1822) = Begonia diptera Dryand.  This is also a possibility.

Published Jun 20, 2009 - 03:24 PM | Last updated Jul 14, 2010 - 04:55 PM

Figured are glossy green leaves, paler beneath, and large cluster of small white flowers.

Begonia nitida Dryand. | BM t.4046/1843 | BHL

Family Begoniaceae
Region of origin


  • Begonia odorata Paxt.
  • Begonia suaveolens Klotzsch
Common Name
Name in the Camden Park Record

Begonia odorata 

Confidence level medium